My name is Dan Scott, and I am one of the core developers and long-time contributors to the Evergreen open source library system. On behalf of the Evergreen community, I would like to submit the following application for membership in the Software Freedom Conservancy.
To quote from the project home page, the Evergreen library system is “highly-scalable software for libraries that helps library patrons find library materials, and helps libraries manage, catalog, and circulate those materials, no matter how large or complex the libraries”.
The project began in 2004 when the Georgia Public Library Service found all of the existing library systems, open source and proprietary, unable to meet its performance needs, and invested funds in developing a free software system that would meet its needs and offer a solution for other libraries as well.
In 2006, the first version of Evergreen went live in the State of Georgia, and in 2007 celebrated several significant milestones:
Since then, the community and the project has been steadily growing, both in adoption and in terms of contributions to the project.
Any new code that the project creates is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2, with the “or later” clause.
In some cases we have bundled code that is provided under a more permissive license, such as the New BSD License. If we modify any 3rd party code, such as the DP_DateExtensions.js, we maintain the copyright and license headers and include comments on what was modified.
Our roadmap is currently very much focused on the next release, 2.0, with a beta due at the end of September 2010: http://evergreen-ils.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=faqs:evergreen_roadmap
The roadmap is a living document, and after our IRC community meeting on September 7th, I expect that there will be further development plans fleshed out for the subsequent release(s).
The Evergreen source code is available from svn:svn.open-ils.org/ILS The OpenSRF source code (OpenSRF provides the communication infrastructure on which Evergreen is built) is available from svn:svn.open-ils.org/OpenSRF
A Trac instance links to both repositories from http://svn.open-ils.org/trac
As was noted above, the Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) was awarded the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration (MATC), worth $50,000. GPLS invested the funds in hiring technical writers to create documentation for the project.
There have been two Evergreen conferences, one hosted by GPLS in Athens, Georgia, in 2009, and one hosted by the Michigan Library Consortium in 2010. Funds for these conferences were held by the hosting organizations, but the conferences are very much part of the overall project. GPLS has money from the 2009 conference (approximately $2000) that they hope to contribute to the foundation when the structure is finalized.
The Evergreen project was created by the Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) in 2004 and employed all of the initial developers and systems personnel. GPLS currently holds legal collateral such as the Evergreen trademark and logo and still holds a significant proportion of the copyright over the Evergreen code base. Shortly after the Evergreen International Conference in 2009, Elizabeth McKinney of GPLS announced their intention to form a non-profit legal entity to hold these assets on behalf of the broader Evergreen community ( http://markmail.org/message/h2k7wpjncfvixvim )
In practice, since the project began focusing on being applicable to libraries outside of GPLS, most project decisions have been made by gaining the informal consensus of interested parties via the mailing lists and/or the IRC channel. This is, for example, how the decision to switch from CVS to Subversion occurred; how bug and enhancement tracking went from a Bugzilla instance to a read-only Trac instance to an open Launchpad instance; and how we have set up conference site selection committees. People who define a problem in the project and offer to provide a solution are generally given whatever power we can give them to achieve their goal.
At the Evergreen International Conference in 2010, Elizabeth McKinney of GPLS solicited participation from a broad set of representatives to go forward with forming that Evergreen Software Foundation. Many discussions of potential governance models and membership structures have been held since then, and there is overwhelming support to seek a membership within the Software Freedom Conservancy while continuing these discussions. We understand that the Software Freedom Conservancy has experience in setting up governance structures with open source projects, and if the Conservancy accepts our application we would welcome your insight and suggestions.
Most of the committers to the Evergreen and OpenSRF repositories are or have been employees of Equinox Software, Inc (http://esilibrary.com).
Dan Scott, one of the committers to Evergreen and OpenSRF, holds a full-time position as a systems librarian with Laurentian University, although as of September 2010 he will be seconded to a full-time Evergreen development position within the “Project Conifer” consortium of university libraries, college libraries, and special libraries across the province of Ontario ( http://projectconifer.ca/ ). Dan also runs Coffee|Code Consulting, a sole proprietorship that has offered Evergreen development and training services since early 2010. All materials that Coffee|Code Consulting produces are made available under the GNU General Public License and / or the Creative Commons-Attribution-Share-Alike license.
The King County Library system (Issaquah, WA), in partnership with the Galecia Group (Petaluma, CA), won a $1 million IMLS grant in September 2009, entitled “Powered by Open Source.” King County has partnered with six other library systems to provide a peer-to-peer support model for open source libraries. The grant-funded website for their open source project, RSCEL (Resource & Sharing Cooperative of Evergreen Libraries) is at http://rscel.evergreen-ils.org.
http://evergreen-ils.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=contributing:contributors lists all of the committers, along with all of the people who have contributed patches to the project since its inception. It also links to the list of participants in the Documentation Interest Group.
In 2006, GPLS contracted the development of the initial SIP 2.0 support (realized in http://openncip.sourceforge.net/ ) through LibLime ( http://liblime.com ), who subcontracted the work to David Fiander.
Evergreen was one of two free software library systems that participated in the Electronic Information For Libraries Free and Open Source Software (eIFL-FOSS) ILS project: http://www.eifl.net/cps/sections/services/eifl-foss/ils/ils-project-workshop Dan Scott travelled to Armenia in June 2008 to provide pro bono training to representatives of libraries in transitional countries.
Lyrasis (formerly Solinet) helped organize the 2009 Evergreen International Conference and offered Evergreen training and other services at http://www.lyrasis.org.
Finally, on the subject of contributing a percentage of our funds to the Conservancy, our group has not yet come to a decision on that matter. I will raise the subject with the governance group again and provide an update if we reach a consensus on that subject.
If you have any questions, of course, please feel free to address them to me at email@example.com.
Many thanks, Dan Scott